Summit Gets Approval From Iowa Regulators For Carbon Pipeline

Summit Gets Approval From Iowa Regulators For Carbon Pipeline - Carbon Herald

Iowa regulators gave the thumbs-up Tuesday to Summit Carbon Solutions’ plan to build a carbon capture pipeline. 

This decision comes after three years of discussions and debates and marks the first major approval for the multi-state project.

The Iowa Utilities Board, in a lengthy document approving the project, ruled that the pipeline would benefit the public and granted Summit the power to acquire land through eminent domain (with fair compensation) if necessary. 

However, according to the ruling, there are still 859 land parcels along the route where owners haven’t agreed to sell their land.

“The momentum will continue as we prepare to file our South Dakota permit application in early July,” said Summit Carbon Solutions Chief Executive Officer Lee Blank in a statement Tuesday. 

“We look forward to engaging with the state throughout this process and are confident in a successful outcome.”

Relevant: Anew Climate Teams Up With Summit Carbon On Megaton Carbon Removal Project

Opponents of the pipeline, who object to the use of eminent domain, plan to challenge the decision in court.

The proposed pipeline will stretch over 680 miles across 29 Iowa counties. Summit’s plan is to connect to 57 ethanol plants in Iowa, capture their CO2 emissions, and transport them to an underground storage facility in North Dakota. 

The pipeline’s capacity is estimated to be 18 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Iowa corn growers and ethanol producers have been strong supporters of the project, believing it will boost the corn market by allowing them to benefit from tax credits and sell ethanol in low-carbon fuel markets. 

Additionally, some argue that capturing and storing carbon emissions could open doors for using ethanol in sustainable aviation fuel.

Relevant: Iowa Considers Bill To Stop Use Of Eminent Domain By Carbon Pipelines

“Today’s decision opens up tremendous opportunities for Iowa farmers who are facing falling prices and growing surpluses,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, in a statement. 

“Even if some have doubts, the reality is that major airlines worldwide are aiming to reduce their fuel emissions. Carbon capture and storage could position Iowa ethanol to enter that market, potentially leading to a long-term economic boom for Iowa. This is just the beginning of several potential new markets.”

While the ruling approves Summit’s application, it doesn’t grant an immediate permit. The board requires Summit to resubmit and revise some documents before receiving the permit. 

Additionally, the project needs approval from both South Dakota and North Dakota before construction can begin.

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